When you get right down to it, it is an argument that is probably never going to end.
Before I get into it. I am pro gun, and I am pro 2nd Amendment. If I had the money, I would probably own some firearms. A good friend of mine has a pair of M1 Garands that I covet…(The WWII historian in me….)
Whenever there is a mass shooting, such as the Aurora, CO. theatre, or the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, the folks on both sides of the debate, step into the spotlight. I keep hearing both sides, and in listening to their arguments, it is truly an “all or nothing” fight. Pro gun Advocates will not budge from “shall not be infringed” and the Anti-Gun zealots will not budge from “ban all guns everywhere”.
I often wonder, and I have debated with friends, and family, if there could ever be such a thing as “reasonable restrictions” on gun purchases, etc. (I shudder to even use the word “restriction” here) When that subject comes up, one must begin to think: “What constitutes reasonable”?
Is there even such a thing?
Both sides of the argument say “No” in the loudest voices possible.
So, I set out to explore, theorize, think about, whatever, would constitute a “reasonable” restriction. Here in Illinois, one is required to register with the State Police, and obtain a Firearm owner’s Identification Card (or FOID) before purchasing a firearm. Most other states do not require such. In Illinois, one is also subject to a criminal background check before being allowed to purchase a weapon. I have heard that these restrictions, if you want to call them that, are considered “reasonable” because it doesn’t “infringe” on ownership, it just forces you to wait a few days. (Which, when you think about it is an infringement). The logic behind that line of thinking goes something like this: If we force would-be gun owners to wait a few days, someone who is purchasing a gun to commit a crime, might change their mind, while waiting for their gun. First of all, most criminals obtain guns illegally in the first place. So, the “reasonable” criteria went out the window on that one.
The more I thought about what constitutes “reasonable” would be considered “restrictive” by the pro-gun crowd, and “not restrictive enough” by the anti-gun crowd.
My friend, the M1 Garand owner is very much in favor of Concealed Carry. Something most gun-hating liberals froth at the mouth over when they hear those words. I am in favor of CC as well. I simply think it’s a good idea. So, when thinking about what constitutes “reasonable”, I began to trip over the same thing: What one would consider reasonable, both sides of the argument are not going to agree to, because it either restricts, or isn’t restrictive enough.
There seems to be no compromise on this issue, and even, in my own mind, I struggle to compromise. A “common sense” approach? Who is going to define what is “common sense” when it comes to gun ownership. I have thought that, perhaps a mandatory training class on the use, and storage of the weapon, perhaps held by one’s local police department. I mean, “common sense” would tell one, that if one buys a firearm, then one should be trained in its use, storage and cleaning, A mandatory shooting class, perhaps? Perhaps one that would teach the new gun owner how to load, sight, and fire. But, then, anyone that I know that has bought a gun, the first thing they do is learn how to use it, and take courses on how to use it in defense of their home and family. So, making such a thing mandatory might be seen as “too restrictive”, in addition to redundant. And, the anti-gun folks would think something like that would be beyond crazy, because if you teach someone to use a weapon…they might use it. Or, they would want the class to focus on making its use as difficult as possible. Also, according my friend, most, if not all gun shops offer beginners courses on firearm ownership, safety, firing, cleaning, etc. It would be up to the gun purchaser to sign up for those classes.
The gun argument, if anything, is more emotional, than it is logical, especially from the anti-gun crowd. Both sides use statistics, numbers, and other arguments to persuade, and trot out emotional charged anecdotes to make their cases. Unfortunately the anti-gun crowd fails miserably in this realm, because they trot out the same tired old stories. In my mind, an armed person, who knows what they are doing, can be a deterrent to a criminal, or other individual who wishes to do harm. Criminals like to live as well, and most of them are not going to take unnecessary chances, none of them want to face down their would be victim, or victims if they are armed. The anti-gun crowd doesn’t think so. They think one more armed person is going to add to the problem. Or, even worse, that the criminal will take, and use the gun against the person trying to defend themselves.
So, as I think about things further, I begin to realize, that in all honesty, there is no solution. And, there probably shouldn’t be. The main problem in this society, is not the guns. It’s the people. It’s the lack of respect for life. The lack of morality. The lack of respect for right and wrong. And, the need, for whatever reason, to meet any slight, either real, or perceived, with deadly force. The real problem, lies within us. I know, from my long experience as a 9-1-1 Operator and fire fighter, there are always going to be violent, hateful, destructive people, who are going to prey on society as a whole, or those they perceive as weaker, or more vulnerable than the rest, and because of that, having the Constitutionally-protected right, and ability to defend oneself is a necessity.
The other thing I also realize, that the anti-gun crowd is not interested in protecting rights, or anything like that. They just want to disarm us, because, in their convoluted logic, that makes for a safer society. However, real logic would dictate that our society would be anything but.
The conclusion I have come to is that there really isn’t a reasonable solution to this argument, or, maybe the way things are, is perfectly reasonable. Some people in our society can’t live with that.
Cross posted to: Chairman of the Awkward Squad.